Experimental Cinema

Ritual in Transfigured Time, 1946

A silent, textural, and hypnotic composition in movement and expression, the opening sequence of Ritual in Transfigured Time posits the innate duality of human nature as an animated, approachable female figure (Maya Deren) alternately framed in high contrast against a pair of interchangeable doorways, beckons a seemingly naïve young dancer (Rita Christiani) into a large… read more »

Meshes of the Afternoon, 1943

A large flower, the silhouette of a figure briskly walking away, a house key, a bread knife, a telephone receiver resting off the hook, and a spinning phonographic turntable define the shifting functional elements in Meshes of the Afternoon from which the film’s evolving, malleable construct – the fragile and tenuously interconnected mesh of actual… read more »

On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time, 1959

The panning shot of an anonymous city street establishes the tensile, yet integral relationship between citizen and environment in Guy Debord’s dense and minimalist essay On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time, describing the rows of generic apartment buildings as places of refuge from the constant social immersion… read more »

Les Photos d’Alix, 1978

Ostensibly an informal guided commentary through personal photographs taken by Alix Cléo Roubaud for a young interviewer (Boris Eustache), Jean Eustache’s Les Photos d’Alix ingeniously explores the nature of reality and perspective within the framework of documentary filmmaking. This sense of trompe l’oeil is prefigured in an early double exposed photograph of Alix’s husband, novelist… read more »

Une Sale histoire, 1977

Composed of two separate, near verbatim vignettes – alternately framed as a documentary, then as fiction film – Une Sale histoire is told from the perspective of a recovering peeping tom who tells his sordid tale of voyeuristic obsession before an intimate, predominantly female audience. In the first part, the spatial relation between the speaker,… read more »

Program 7: Nina Fonoroff

The Accursed Mazurka, 1994 A series of stark, alienating, and desolate expressionistic images convey a sense of foreboding and dread as a scratched, narrative soundtrack (reminiscent of an early generation, low fidelity audio broadcast recording) presents an anonymous, paranoiac woman’s curious hypothesis that the onset of her psychological break from reality had been triggered by… read more »

Animated Passions: The Films of Ursula Ferrara

During the Q&A for the screening of Animated Passions: The Films of Ursula Ferrara, Ferrara commented that her body of work reflects the conventional progression of her formal art school training, graduating from monochrome to color, simple sketches to more complex forms. The theme of evolution and transformation is also integrally connected to the metaphorical… read more »

Inextinguishable Fire, 1969

“How can we show you napalm in action? And how can we show you the injuries caused by napalm? If we show you pictures of napalm burns, you’ll close your eyes. First you’ll close your eyes to the pictures. Then you’ll close your eyes to the memory. Then you’ll close your eyes to the facts…. read more »

Tren de sombras (Train of Shadows), 1997

Ostensibly framed as a restoration of a degraded found film recovered some 70 years after the sudden and unexplained death of its creator, a Parisian attorney and amateur filmmaker named Gérard Fleury at a lake in the village of Le Thuit in Normandy, Tren de sombras (Train of Shadows) is a dense, sensual, and richly… read more »

Innisfree, 1990

As in Tren de sombras, José Luis Guerín ambiguously prefaces Innisfree as a series of images and observations recorded from the site of a historical event, in this case, the filming of John Ford’s The Quiet Man around Cong village in the Irish countryside. And like the film, Guerín alternates between modes of non-fiction –… read more »

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